BERLIN ( Associated Press) – Thousands protested on Saturday against plans to bulldoze a village to expand a coal mine in western Germany, which environmental activists say should be closed, not should be enlarged.
German news agency DPA quoted police in the afternoon as saying that the demonstration in Luetzerath, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Cologne, passed off peacefully. The DPA said around 2,000 people took part.
This came when the last farmer in the village sold his property to utility company RWE after losing a court case against his eviction. Workers still live in the village, some of whom have built tree houses to prevent the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler mine.
Climate activists argue that the village and others nearby should not be demolished because burning coal that is still in the ground undermines Germany’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Among those taking part in the protest was Ilyas El Kortaby, a climate activist from Ukraine who criticized Germany for continuing to buy coal, oil and gas from Russia, arguing that it would help Russia’s disastrous war against her country. Meets.
Some German officials have countered that in order to reduce the country’s imports of Russian fossil fuels in the short term, Germany needs to rely on other sources of energy, including lignite coal mined in Garzweiler.
Coal-fired power stations near the mine are the EU’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.
Recent opinion polls show a significant increase in voter support for the environmentalist Greens party ahead of next month’s regional election in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the mine is located.